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Revd. Sir Robert Peat
Born c. 1772
Hamsterley, County Durham
Died 20 April 1837 (aged 65)
New Brentford, Middlesex
Spouse(s) Jane Smith
Parent(s) John Peat and Anne Heron
Church Church of England
Offices held
Curate of Biggleswade (1794-1797)
Perpetual curate of Buxton (1803-1808)
Perpetual curate of Chelmorton (1798-1803)
Rector of Ashley cum Silverley and Vicar of Kirtling (1803-1805)
Perpetual curate of New Brentford (1808-1837)
Grand Prior of the Order of St John (1831-1837)

Sir Robert Peat (c.1772–20 April 1837) was an Anglican clergyman and the first Grand Prior of the revived English Langue of the Order of the Saint John, which later became the Venerable Order of Saint John.

Early life[edit]

Peat was born in Hamsterley, County Durham, the son of John Peat, a watchmaker and silversmith, and Ann Heron, of the Herons of Chipchase Castle. He was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge as a 'ten year man' on 20 April 1790 and received a doctorate of Divinity from the University of Glasgow that same year.[1] On 21 November that year, the King of Poland conferred the Order of Saint Stanislaus upon him, for services rendered to that king by a relative of Peat. He was later permitted to accept and wear the Order in 1804.[2] Title, Foreign, Court case etc.


On 6 November 1815, Peat married the eccentric and elderly kleptomaniac Jane Smith (a kinswoman of Maria Fitzherbert) of East Herrington at St. Michael's, Houghton-le-Spring.[5]

Order of Saint John[edit]

Peat died at the vicarage of St Lawrence's in New Brentford on 20 April 1837 and his library was sold at Sotheby's on 23 and 24 June.[6] On hearing the news, his wife is said to have "bought a new dress of bright yellow cotton, and a bonnet, a feather, and ribbons to match" and walked the streets of Sunderland celebrating his death.[7]


Samuel Wesley (in a letter to Vincent Novello dated 1824) called Peat "an old Acquaintance, & I may even say Friend of mine. He is the Parson of Brentford, a good Scholar, a very feeling Lover of Music, a Man of superior Manners, & what we think better than all these, his Heart is warm and sincere".[8]

The Monthly chronicle of North-country lore and legend describes Peat as "a fine-looking little man, dressed in a coat and waistcoat that might have been made by a Stultz, a white necktie, knee breeches, and white silk stockings. He cut a good figure on horseback, being an expert rider."[7] Richardson's The Borderer's table book (1846) describes him (from local papers) as "highly distinguished for his accomplished manners and gentle manly bearing, an excellent scholar, and a warm and devoted friend."[9]

Thomas Fordyce Local records [10]

However Benbow's ultra-radical, anti-clericalist pamphlet The crimes of the clergy (1823) accuses him of being "proud, tyrannical, and overbearing", arrogant and a liar.[11]

Titles, honours and arms[edit]

Masonic offices
Preceded by
Robert Hutton
Grand Master-Elect of Palatine Lodge, No. 97
Succeeded by
Thomas Hardy
Non-profit organization positions
New title Grand Prior of the Order of St John
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Dymoke


Category:Recipients of the Order of Saint Stanislaus Category:18th-century Anglican clergy Category:19th-century Anglican clergy Category:1837 deaths